3 May 2024

'It's the fastest paced game you will ever see': Why ice hockey is the hottest ticket in town this winter

| Jacqueline Lyons
Join the conversation
Ice hockey players battle it out

CBR Brave are ready for yet another successful season at ‘The Brave Cave’ in 2024. Photo: David Tate.

When you think about a winter sport in Australia, ice hockey probably isn’t top of mind, despite the Canberra chill. But ask a fan, and they’ll tell you it’s a game like no other, and a lack of knowledge shouldn’t deter you from a trip to Canberra’s famed Brave Cave.

“If you look at the crowds, which usually involve a thousand people or more, there’s probably only a few dozen that have actually played the game, the rest are there for the game day experience and the thrill of the game,” says CBR Brave chief operating officer Steve Moeller.

“What makes ice hockey so great is the quick turnaround with players: it’s a sprint, not a marathon.

“The five field players sub out or ‘change on the fly’ after anywhere between 45 and 60 seconds of fast-paced action, which increases the intensity for the players and the crowd.”

READ ALSO Last home game of the ice hockey season to showcase ‘heart and soul’ of Caribou CBR Brave

While ice hockey and Canberra are not two things to typically put together in the same sentence, Steve says a typical gameday at the Brave Cave is a unique experience, even compared with other ice hockey games that fans might see throughout the Australian Ice Hockey League season.

“The Brave Cave itself is a little bit older than a lot of the other rinks across the country. Most of them have Plexi-glass at each end and around the corners of the rink as protection for the players and the fans, but at the Brave Cave, there’s chicken wire at each end in place of the Plexi, and that’s pretty much it,” Steve says.

“You just feel so much closer to the action, almost like you’re part of the game. It’s just so exciting, and every game is high stakes for the players and the Brave faithful. The energy level is through the roof and the atmosphere is just electric.”

Ice hockey players

Come see the mighty Canberra Brave take on Melbourne Ice. Photo: David Tate.

The Phillip rink has been in use for over four decades and there are plans to make the experience even better for fans.

“We have teamed up with new rink owners Geocon this year as a major sponsor – and we’re working with them to make some more improvements to the rink that I think the fans are really going to enjoy,” Steve says.

“Everyone already has a great time at every game we host, but with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, these changes will take the game day experience to the next level.”

READ ALSO Canberra rugby legend Louise Burrows retires after almost three decades at the top

Despite a COVID-19 slump, Steve says attendance is on the rise again.

“Like all teams, we’re still rebuilding. We’re noticing the crowd numbers getting back to what they once were,” Steve says.

“We’re off to a bit of a slow start this year, with several players away on national team duties and most of our imports yet to arrive. We still have a long way to go. We just missed out on the championship last year, going down 1-0 to the Melbourne Mustangs in the final, so the team is ready to put everything on the line and bring the Goodall Cup back to Canberra for its third visit,” Steve says.

CBR Brave has been part of the Australian Hockey League since 2014 and has been gaining an impressive following of fans ever since.

“Around 80 per cent of the people who show up to the game come to pretty much all of them. We have a really loyal following,” Steve says.

One visit to the Brave Cave and you’ll understand why.

The Brave are gearing up to face Melbourne Ice in a weekend doubleheader on 4 & 5 May. For more information or to buy tickets, visit CBR Brave.


Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
davidmaywald2:10 pm 03 May 24

Great article. C’mon Braves!!

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.